Service Personnel Children
Oral Answers to Questions — Defence
Mark Francois (Rayleigh and Wickford, Conservative)
I most certainly will. As the Secretary of State has already said, more than 150 local authorities have signed the community covenant, and we are now on track to get to 200. They are coming in fast, which gives us the nice problem of tracking them as they come in. If I can give my hon. Friend another example of how the scheme works in practice, Oxfordshire county council has amended its admissions procedures so that service personnel who apply to move their children into an Oxfordshire school before they move to Oxfordshire can use a British Forces Post Office number on the application form. That might sound like a small thing, but prior to the change service personnel could not apply for a school place until they had moved into an area. Allowing service personnel to apply in advance of their children moving to an area materially affects their family’s quality of life. I commend Oxfordshire county council for its initiative and I hope others will copy it.